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Grants to cover new coat of paint for Burchfield Homestead

Burchfield Homestead Society President Sara Baer holds a $3,300 Ohio History Fund grant check from the Ohio History Connection received during the Statehood Day event at the Statehouse in Columbus on Tuesday. (Submitted photo)

SALEM — The historic Burchfield Homestead will receive a new coat of paint this summer thanks to a $3,300 Ohio History Fund grant from the Ohio History Connection and a $2,200 grant from the Pearce Foundation of Salem.

The homestead at 867 E. Fourth St. is on the National Register of Historic Places.

The non-profit Burchfield Homestead Society will provide the $1,063 balance of the local funding match required by the Ohio History Connection’s competitive grant program.

“We are thrilled to have the generous support of the Ohio History Connection and the Pearce Foundation to complete this critical project to preserve the house where Charles E. Burchfield created significant watercolors as a young man,” said Sara Baer, president of the Burchfield Homestead Society.

Baer accepted the Ohio History Fund grant on behalf of the Salem non-profit during the Statehood Day celebration in Columbus on Tuesday.

The grant to the Burchfield Homestead Society is one of 18 that Ohio History Fund reviewers selected to share $207,100 in funding during 2022. The review panel considered 37 proposals.

Grants from the Ohio History Fund are made possible largely by contributions of Ohio income tax refunds (line 26b, Form IT-1040) sales of Ohio History “mastodon” license plates, and designated donations to the Ohio History Connection.

The Pearce Foundation was established in 1984 upon the death of Ray Pearce. Ray and his wife Elizabeth owned and operated the Arbaugh-Pearce Funeral Home in Salem. While they were living, the Pearces quietly and privately provided funds to many young people to further their education. The foundation has a scholarship program for students from the Leetonia, United Local, and West Branch school districts and provides support to non-profit entities in the vicinity of Salem.

The exterior painting project is important to the state and the local community because the Burchfield Homestead is the only site in Ohio that is included in the Historic Artists’ Homes and Studios program of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. When he was curator of American Art at the Cleveland Museum of Art, Henry Adams called the house “a building of extraordinary significance.”

The East Fourth Street neighborhood around the Burchfield Homestead retains many of the same houses that appear in watercolors Burchfield created from the time he was a Salem High School student until he moved to Buffalo, NY, in 1921. The homes, fields, and forests of Salem inspired Burchfield throughout his life (1893-1967) and successful artistic career. In 1956 TIME magazine named him “Best US watercolorist” and in the 1960s President Lyndon B. Johnson called him the “artist to America.”

The fresh coat of paint will match the gold with white trim that appears in paintings that Burchfield did in 1917 – his golden year of productivity.

The Burchfield Homestead is open from 1 to 4 p.m. Sundays from May through October, and by appointment. Call 330-717-0092 for more information about the homestead or to schedule a tour; or see the homestead’s website https://www.burchfieldhomestead.com. (Submitted material from Madeline Patton Shivers)

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